Shareholder lawsuits seek to block HCA buyout

The HCA buyout plan attracted four shareholder lawsuits before the ink was dry, including one from the top securities class-action law firm in the country. This account in The Tennesseean says such suits are par for the course in a big buyout, but quotes a legal expert saying they may have jumped the gun by filing before the 50-day deadline for HCA to solicit other offers. HCA President Richard Bracken talked about the suits in a conference call yesterday with the company's division and market presidents and said HCA is aggressively seeking alternative bids.

- read the piece from The Tennesseean

MEANWHILE: The Times of London reports that the SEC is investigating a nine-fold jump in HCA options trading in the days leading up the buyout announcement for possible insider-trading activity, though the SEC did not comment for the Times story. Article